Do you even ride, bro?

I read an article the other day and it bugged me. The author confesses that he no longer rides his bike outside, apart from race days. All his “cycling” is inside on Zwift. Yep, that’s right. A perfectly fit and able person choosing to spend 100% of their saddle time stuck on the trainer rather than outside. What?!?! He did identify as a triathlete, so maybe that’s part of his problem. *chuckle*

I just don’t get it. Nope. No way. I ride because I just LOVE riding my bike – and a big chunk of that joy is the wind in your face, the fresh air, the views, the journey, the hum of slick tyres across the blacktop, the achievement of a tough climb, the pure unadulterated escapism. It’s all part of the experience and part of my love of cycling.

Take that away and all you are doing is turning the cranks. I have nothing against Zwift or any other indoor training software. In fact I train indoors a bit, having racked up around 14,000 virtual kilometres on Zwift. It’s a great way to build or maintain fitness, but in no way is it a total substitute for actually riding a bike outside – and I certainly don’t love it!

I’ve said it before and it bears repeating, if the option is there to enjoyably get outside, you should NEVER EVER EVER choose the trainer over actually riding your bike.


If all you do is “just ride indoors” do you actually love riding? Are you even really riding at all? Are you even a cyclist? Hell I can ride the turbo  with my eyes closed, hands free while sending saucy Snapchats to your Mum! It’s not cycling.

To play devil’s advocate, maybe if I lived in a place where it was TRULY dangerous to cycle outside perhaps my views would be different? Sure, we have our share of dangerous drivers and poorly designed roads here, but on the whole Tasmania is a nice enough place to ride. I am thankful for that.

I guess not everyone is that lucky. The danger from inconsiderate drivers is very real. It’s partly why I’ve been meddling in some mountain biking (plus it’s hella fun). It’s nice not to have to worry about cars every once in a while. Just crazy wallabies, deadly snakes and big ass rocks.

But that’s still no excuse for being an indoor only athlete (apparently that’s a thing). Riding outside is where a bike was made to be ridden. Not bolted to a turbo trainer going nowhere in your garage while staring at a monitor. That’s not cycling. Never forget the pure joy that comes from actually riding a bike. So…


Full disclosure: I rode a virtual 45km on Zwift today, part of which included an organised bunch ride. Sue me…

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Sheree says:

    I’m with you on this, nothing better than a bike ride outside.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. idlecyclist says:

    100% but then I don’t really enjoy any form of indoor exercising. Fresh air is my drug of choice 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Arguably the best drug of all.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Neil Morrison says:

    A bike is freedom, to imprison yourself all the time does indeed seem crazy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Perfectly put! :-)

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I agree. Zwift fills the gaps time and bad weather leave. Any other time its got to be outside. I can’t imagine riding indoors when its a sunny 25 degs outside. Thats mental.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know, right! Unless you’re a professional and getting paid for race results, there’s no excuse for sitting on the trainer instead of enjoying the beautiful outdoors!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. bgddyjim says:

    I’m with you on that, brother. Though I’d be feeling different if I lived someplace less safe to ride.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nailed it. I’ve used the trainer exactly once this year. Granted, I doubled my usual speed, and watched a movie, but after half an hour I was bored and also hurting in the tuchus area way more than usual, for some reason. Anyway, maybe if I had a better trainer, bad weather and Zwift, or maybe in old age, I’d do it more. For now, if I want to go somewhere, the bike is the thing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve used the trainer a fair bit this year due to work, weather, whatever. It gets my legs turning to maintain/increase fitness, but it’s no substitute for the outdoors. Thanks for stopping by! :-)


      1. Sure though not sure it you saw it, bit I actually mentioned your blog in a post.

        What kind of trainer do you have? Are there affordable ones that work with Zwift that don’t break the bank? Mine’s a crummy old heavy loud metal one.


        1. I’ve got a Tacx NEO. It’s not cheap, but I’ve put many, many, many hours on it (I do work for an indoor training software company). You can get far cheaper smart turbos similar in design to your old one with in-built auto resistance changes. These will connect with all the apps. The overall experience isn’t quite as refined, but they work. Thanks for the mention!

          Liked by 1 person

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